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 Thursday 04 October 2007
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BURKINA FASO: Counting the damage to agriculture

Photo: Nicholas Reader/IRIN
Women preparing her family's mud-walled house for the oncoming rainy season. Many houses like these wash away in heavy rains
DAKAR, 21 September 2007 (IRIN) - Floods in Burkina Faso have wiped out thousands of hectares of farmland, threatening immediate hunger for at least 3,000 households and are likely to cause long-term problems as subsistence farmers struggle to come to terms with the loss of tools, animals and seeds.

“Houses have been destroyed and there is an emergency in some places that will extend to next year,” said Jerome Kasongo Banga, UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) representative in Burkina Faso. “There is a lot of work to be done to cope with the damage especially for farmers.”

Some 3,930 square hectares of land in provinces Bezega, Nabouri and Zoundweogo are affected, according to Burkina Faso’s national agricultural statistics and forecasting service (DGPSA). “Important net areas of crops have been covered in water or sand and smothered by weeds, because of the heavy rains which hindered carrying out maintenance work,” the DGPSA said.

The FAO and the government that around Burkina Faso have calculated that some 23,000 farming households have suffered. Aid agencies calculate an average of six or seven people per household in Burkina Faso, meaning a possible affected population of 160,000 people.

The response by international aid agencies to Burkina Faso’s floods has been muted. Although some aid recently started to arrive, Burkina Faso’s government had not received the tents or food it required weeks after making its first appeal for international help.

Longer-term assistance is usually in even shorter supply than emergency funding however the FAO says it has provided some farmers with new seeds and tools.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Environment, (IRIN) Food Security, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition, (IRIN) Natural Disasters


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.